Having been on six Disney Cruises in the last eight years, I thought I’d take the time to explain to you all just why we love Disney Cruise Line so much.
In fact, if I’m being totally honest, it’s more than that. For us they are the holiday that works for us as a family, more than anything else we’ve found.
We’ve been to Disneyland Paris, and enjoyed it. We’ve thought about visiting the parks in America, and I’m sure we would love them.
But the truth is there’s a Mouse in the middle of the sea that stole our hearts eight years ago and I’m sure he’s ready to give it back yet.
So Why Do We Love It So Much?
Our First and most important reason is the level of character interaction is something that’s beyond compare. With a relatively small number of children onboard (compared to the parks) the characters really do get to know each child as an individual.
They have time to play, to interact, to become real. Character experiences on board are far more than just a photo opportunity.
The staff as a whole are incredible. Each and every one of them goes out of their way every single minute of every single day to create magic. They work hard with the children to make them feel safe. And that isn’t easy with my two, they are both shy around strangers, but by the end of the first week I know they will both have relaxed.
It is the Bear’s happy place. It’s the one place in the whole world I know that she will totally relax. The look on her face alone makes the trip worthwhile.
The food is incredible. And more than that it is flexible. Children can eat of the adult menu and vice verse. In fact if they have the ingredients, they will go off menu altogether. The Lion, had cucumber (his favourite) every day for tea and not an eyelid is batted.
There is a choice of buffet or table service at breakfast or lunch, which makes it the perfect time for children (and parents) to try out new foods. The eggs benedict are incredible, just in case you wanted to know!
In the evening there is what’s called rotational dining, which in non-Disney speak means you alternate between three different but equally incredible restaurants. You watch mini shows, eat a huge variety of different things and most importantly for us get to take the same waiting staff with you wherever you go. Something that especially when the Bear was younger made all the difference in the world to us.
The entertainment is quite simply out of this world. With a Broadway style shows in a much more intimate setting, amazing music and actors who genuinely care about their audience. It really is hard to beat. In the Bear’s younger years it wasn’t unusual to see people frantically waving to her under the curtain at the end of the show, just because they knew it would make her day.
It makes seeing different places a whole lot less stressful. I would never cope with moving between multiple countries with the children in tow. In fact the very thought of all that lugging luggage and navigating new hotels makes me feel positively stressed. Instead we get to see lots of wonderful places, whilst still sleeping in the same bed each night.
Inside cabins mean that you can quite literally make up your own hours. Because a lot of the character related entertainment happens in the evening, especially on port days it’s helpful if the children are able to stay up later than they would normally to enjoy the fun. As inside staterooms have no window, they have no idea when it’s morning, meaning you can sneak in a couple of hours sleep. Perfect for them, and a lovely treat for us.
How About From An Autism Point Of View?
Everything onboard is strictly scheduled, and as you get a navigator through your door each evening you know what the minute by minute itinerary will be. This makes it perfect for the Bear who loves it when things happen according to plan, and great for us as it means we can relax knowing that if it says it’s going to happen it really is.
In fact out of six trips only one event has ever been delayed. And in fairness it was to tell us about the fact that we were changing course to avoid two hurricanes. Even Disney couldn’t have predicted that!
All kids club staff are given autism training and are brilliant at making accommodations that work for individual children. We’ve even had an invitation to come in written personally by Mickey, on one particularly reluctant trip.
What Would We Change?
Well getting off the ship is always our biggest challenge and is sure to devastate the Bear, so moving in would definitely be my first choice.
Failing that I would love to see them offer more longer itineraries. We love the Transatlantic which is their longest cruise. But as it doesn’t often tie in with school holidays, that’s now tricky.
Will We Be Going Again?
Without a doubt!
We just need to save up first and that might take a while. The relatively poor exchange rate compared to when we started cruising definitely has an impact on cost.
That said, it’s still worth every penny, just to see the look on the Bear’s face. And judging by his excitement on this trip, when it comes to Disney, the Lion looks set to follow in his big sister’s footsteps.